The Screen and Keyboard

As shown in Figure 7, the HP Mini 1151NR has a 10.1” wide-screen display with a native resolution of 1,024 x 576. The screen has a full glass overlay that makes it sharp and clear, but produces quite a bit of glare.

The 1,024 x 576 resolution is a bit problematic. This is not a “normal” resolution, so some software will be looking for an 800 x 600 resolution and will have trouble installing. This is why HP included the small brochure labeled “Important Printer Driver Information.” Some printers, including HP printers realize that the Mini doesn’t meet the minimum screen resolution requirements and will not install the print drivers. The instruction booklet gives the work-around for this. However we remain puzzled by why HP would do this and a bit aggravated by having to go through more than 10 extra steps to get an HP print driver installed.

Above the screen in Figure 7 you can see the built-in webcam. This is a nice feature, but you may have to search through the online help files to figure out how to use it.

Just to the left of the webcam is a small hole which is the internal microphone. The silver, mesh-looking integrated speaker bar can also be seen in Figure 7 between the keyboard and the screen.

Verizon HP Mini 1151NR Netbook ReviewFigure 7: The screen.

While some netbook manufacturers skimp on the size of the keyboard, the Mini’s keyboard, shown in Figure 8, is quite good. It is 92% of the size of a normal keyboard and the flat keys have a nice tactile feel. We recommend that you try the keyboard on a netbook before you buy. However, we were quite pleased with this one.

Verizon HP Mini 1151NR Netbook ReviewFigure 8: The keyboard.

What we weren’t pleased about is the touchpad, also shown in Figure 8. It is rectangular, wider than high. This results in the mouse buttons being positioned too far to the left and right and in not having enough room for upward and downward motions. We also felt the touchpad was not as responsive as it should be.

The HP mini comes with a plethora of networking options which include the Verizon broadband access, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth. All worked well in our testing. The Verizon access was speedy enough for most normal computing projects.

Like other netbooks, the Mini is not made for high end photo processing or other processor-intensive tasks. It is meant for email, Web browsing, and light office productivity. The Mini performed admirably at these tasks. YouTube videos played quite well.

The Mini 1151NR comes with a three-cell battery so it doesn’t have a very long battery life. During normal use, we couldn’t get it to run for more than about 2 hours without recharging.

Access to the battery is on the bottom of the computer, shown in Figure 9. The large battery bay seen on the top of the Figure is released with a latch below the bay. Under the battery bay is the memory module compartment.

Verizon HP Mini 1151NR Netbook ReviewFigure 9: The bottom of the Mini.

Like other netbooks of this type, there is not optical drive. So if you need to access data from CDs or DVDs you will have to add the cost of an external drive to your budget.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.